What to Wear Fishing This HOT SummerWhat to Wear Fishing This HOT Summer Fishing in the summer can be fantastic, unless you choose the wrong clothing. Read this to avoid making that mistake!
By Tom Branch, Jr.
Fishing in the summer can be fantastic, unless you choose the wrong clothing. For summer time fishing, you should be wearing clothing that will protect you from the dangers of the sun and still be comfortable fishing. The technology involved in creating a quality of summer clothing is incredible today. It wasn't too long ago that when I went fishing during the summer, I put on a baseball cap, tennis shoes, tee-shirt and blue jean shorts. Back in the day there just wasn't the clothing available to fish comfortably and protect your skin as there is today. Manufacturers like Columbia, Simms, World Wide Sportsman and Bass King have created some excellent choices for the summer angler. Their clothing looks stylish and protects your skin from the dangerous UV rays put out by the sun, and it keeps you cool. In this article, I will go over what you should be looking for in good summer clothing while you are outside on the water or fishing from the bank. At the end of the article you will find some of the items I wear on the water in the summertime.
Let’s start out by protecting your skin first. I like to use a sweat proof quality sunscreen that will bond to my skin on contact and won't run down my eyes and sting. You need to find a sunscreen that doesn't leave a greasy residue, which could adversely affect your grip. Look for a formula make up that is oil free, hypoallergenic, and waterproof. A good sunscreen should soak into your skin very quickly. I still have not been able to find a fragrance-free sunscreen for my sensitive skin, especially on my face and neck. In the summer time, I reapply my sunscreen every few hours. Two small suggestions, keep baby wipes in your boat for wiping your hands off after applying your sunscreen. Lastly, purchase new sunscreen every year, sunscreen does go bad.
A thin t-shirt should form your base layer while fishing in the summer. Try a specially treated 100% polyester fabric with 50+ UPF rating. There are fabrics available out there that wick away moisture. My favorites are the fabrics that are made to be water repellent and stain resistant with anti-odor properties that will battle the outdoor elements alongside you. As this is the layer that will be directly next to your skin, it is important that the material allow moisture to escape from your body. If sweat can dry on your skin, it can quickly make you feel cold.
On top of this base layer, a top made from nylon will help to keep cool. Look for an ultra-quick-dry 100% nylon button up shirt that is light, breathable and has “Spills Technology” to ward off blood-and-guts stains. I chose the long-sleeve version because you can protect your arms and roll them out if needed. These style shirts are very cool to wear on the water. Many of them come with front/back ventilation that keeps air flowing even as the roll-up collar protects your neck from harsh UV rays. I prefer the muted grays and light blues instead of the bright color shirts. Remember when you are fishing shallow water you want to look like the sky. Light blues and grays blend the best. I call it sky camouflage. Many of the quality brand shirts now are offering an SPF factor to the shirt material. These shirts are quick drying and cool to wear in the hot weather.
Long days on the water call for versatile clothing, and my preference is pants that have zip off legs like that convert to shorts. That way, I can have shorts on during the day and add the legs back on to the shorts if it gets cool on the return ride in the evening. Just like the shirt, listed above, remember to look at a stain resistance material. The shorts material has to have a minimum UPF 50+ sun protection. Wrinkle-resistant 100% nylon construction features allow these pants to travel in your luggage and still look good while on the water. My pants have to have plenty of pockets because I carry a lot of stuff on me when I am fishing. Now there are days when I just want to wear shorts and I leave the long pants on shore.
I have two shoes/sandals I wear when fishing in the summer, one is a flip flop and the other is a water shoe. Comfortable feet are a must when I am fishing. I want a lightweight sandal that has a soft foot bed. If you wear sandals, you want a flexible material, light-weight and ventilated. The upper material should conform easily to your foot. If you want comfort on your feet, you must look forward to spending around $25. A quality product will also be UV-resistant, odor-resistant, slip-resistant and easy to clean. If I want to wear shoes fishing during the day, I wear a shoe that is made with waterproof materials. You want a shoe that will dry fast when it gets wet. My shoes have a drainage tunnel to remove water quickly from inside the shoe. That way, I am not sloshing around in my shoes, on the boat deck causing blisters on my feet. Try the shoes with elastic bungee lacing because you can pull them tight once they get wet and loose. Like any shoe on a boat, you want to have a non-slip and non-marking rubber outsole.
A hard hat liner might sound a bit unconventional, but it will keep your neck, ears and head warm in cold weather. In the summer, I wear a wide-brimmed hat on the water. This will guard against sunburn, overheating, and overexposure to the sun. The preferred head covering is a wide- brim hat, not a cap. Although the popular and seen-everywhere ball caps help some, a hat with a full brim is made to protect the head, face, neck, and ears. Make sure the hat is made with a breathable material so your scalp can breathe. Keep in mind that water reflects the sun. It intensifies the effect of the rays, and even brings them up from the water surface to your face that is under a hat.
Lots of anglers don't like wearing gloves while fishing, as it can make casting the rod and reeling in catches much more tricky. If you go on fishing boat trips, you'll probably want a pair though to keep your hands warm on the journey, before the actual fishing starts. However, in the summer time, you need protection on your hands. A few years ago, I had the chance to talk to Shaw Grigsby, and he told me “once you’ve had a skin cancer cell removed from your hand you will wear gloves all the time.” The pain from the surgery is very bad, and it is so simple to put on a pair of gloves to protect you from the dangerous sunrays. The best gloves have a built-in UPF sun protection.
This summer I am wearing the Costa Rockport sunglasses. They are their newest rimless sunglasses from Costa Del Mar. These sleek, sporty shades are unique with full eye coverage and lightweight fit, without compromising durability. The Rockport sunglasses offer thicker, wider temples to block light from entering from the sides. These glasses will make you forget they're on. I wear 100% polarized lens because they block yellow light from entering the eye, which eliminates glare. I really like the Rockport sunglasses because they fit my face properly. If the sunglasses are correctly fitted, it will allow the lens to breathe around your eyes. More than anything, this will not allow the sunglasses to fog up when air is passing between your lenses and the skin about the eyes. Remember what I say about good sunglasses; you get what you pay for and you must demand quality!
The latest fishing craze for summer time is the face covers or buff’s. Wearing one of these means you can wear it as a face mask to skip the sun screen in your face. No smelly stuff on your wonderful bait any more. The stretchy, seamless microfiber polyester buff’s fabric comes in different patterns and looks. The material is designed to wick moisture at the surface for lightweight and comfortable protection from sun and wind. These buffs may be worn comfortably as a neckerchief, scarf, headband or balaclava. They are perfect for fishing, hiking, paddling, and many other outdoor activities. All of them machine wash, and you should allow them to air dry before the next usage. Another reason to wear this item is the bugs. My last trip out night fishing with all those tiny little gnats/bugs started buzzing around and getting in my face, nose and eyes I was covered with my buff. More than anything I really like all the different ways you can wear them!
The number one most important thing we all should not go to the lake without is a good-quality life jacket. I must admit, I never go fishing or even just boating without wearing it; I love my family too much. Remember if you ever fall in with all the above on, you must be able to swim. A life vest should be worn on top of everything else, as it is really hardly noticeable, and it could save your life. I would recommend looking at the Mustang Survival Competition Inflatable PFD Vest; this vest cost $289. This type of life jacket inflates only under hydrostatic pressure. Buy the automatic inflatable type vest, there is no substitute. The competition version of this vest is stylish. It features a secure zip closure that can withstand rigorous activity; heavy duty coated nylon for increased durability, and is very lightweight, comfortable, and compact. It will keep you on top of the water long enough to allow you to get back in the boat. Attach your kill switch to your life vest any time your gas motor is running.
Wearing the right clothes is essential for anglers, as it's inevitable that you're going to be spending large amounts of time sitting around in the sun. Even when you're actively fishing, there isn't that much physical movement involved, so you can't rely on this to keep you cool in the summer. Please dress with protection and safety in mind!
About the author: Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer, a full time Lieutenant/Firefighter-Paramedic with over 27+ years of service with the Gwinnett County Fire Service in Georgia and a part owner of Wave Away, LLC. He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 17 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows. Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.
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